If you’ve been in ministry for a while you’ve probably heard the importance of a good mission statement. Guy Kawasaki in his book The Art of the Start says you’re wrong. You don’t need a good mission statement – you just need a motto. He suggests we replace “highfalutin, all-encompassing” mission statements with short, easily digestible, right-to-the-point mottos, what he calls a “mantra.”
Kawasaki gives a few examples from the business world:
Nike – Authentic athletic performance
Disney – Fun family entertainment
Starbucks – Rewarding everyday moments
These mottos are usually employed internally to direct the day-to-day vision of the company. But it’s not hard to see how they would translate to the general public in a pretty easy way.
Mottos are not only catchy, they also help the audience know – right away! – what they’re in for. So how does this work in the church?
Craft Mottos, not Mission Statements
Chances are your church already has a mission statement. I’m not telling you to scrap it. It’s probably pretty important for driving vision. But you can substitute it for a motto. Maybe take a snippet of the mission statement and turn it into a motto. Or start with something fresh that you’ll advertise to everyone.
The church I attend, NorthPoint Church in Springfield, MO, has as its mission statement: “NorthPoint exists to create a safe place for people to find and follow Jesus.” That’s pretty short, it’s definitely to the point, and it’s not difficult to remember. But it’s still not a motto. Sometimes our mission statement is shortened to just: “Find and follow Jesus.” In the end, that’s what the church is all about.
You can also look at your values and decide what’s important enough to advertise to the world. Another way to think of a motto is this: “If I only had a few seconds, how would I describe my church?” I know a lot of churches that use the “Real, Relevant, Relational” tag as a motto. Or maybe it’s “Love God, Love People.” There’s really an endless supply of good mottos when it comes to the list of values your church has adopted.
Once you’ve crafted a motto, get it out there! Start putting it on fliers, on handouts and bulletins, on signs and walls all over your church. Start advertising it on business cards and mailers, splash it across billboards, and repeat it on the radio or TV. Get your motto out there!
This is really about turning your church inside out. For those who have never visited, how can you – in just a couple of seconds – explain what your church is all about? They may already have an idea, and that idea could be wrong. But with a motto, you shatter their preconceived notions and invite them to experience it for themselves.
How can you use a motto to increase your audience’s engagement? How can you incorporate mottos in your weekly teachings?